Written by the Football Federation Australia
A true striker’s goal from substitute Kyah Simon in the dieing moments of a hotly contested clash has seen the Westfield Matildas defeat fifth-ranked Asian heavyweights DPR Korea 3-2 at Ballymore Stadium.
After recording a 2-all draw with the DPR Koreans just three days earlier, the Australians were desperate to hold out the visiting side in the second game of the series.
The Matildas dominated for much of the opening half, however despite their threatening attacks were unable to finish amid pressure from a tough defensive line from the Koreans.
The home sides' first chance came in the 9th minute after an explosive attacking effort from speed-demon Lisa De Vanna who drew a free kick from Chung Sim Kim.
McCallum took the resulting free kick, forcing a dive from DPR Korean keeper Myong Hui Hong, which left the ball rebounding off the ‘keepers hand, veering it just right of the goal.
Yun Mi Jo looked just as dangerous for the visiting side moments later when she belted the ball just outside of goal, forcing a high-quality save from Australian ‘keeper and Westfield Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri.
The Australians were quick to respond with a powerful strike from Clare Polkinghorne who found herself open in front of goals after pushing past several DPR Korean defenders.
Australia’s opening goal however came when a Lauren Colthorpe free kick found a heavily marked Katie Gill at the edge of penalty box .
Gill clinically directed her header down to an Sarah Walsh who burst into the area and drove the ball past the helpless DPR keeper Hong.
In the 33rd minute DPR Korea fought back when a Ye Gong Re cross to found an unmarked Yun Mi Jo who met the ball with a diving header to level the scores.
In the 44th minute Australia was awarded a penalty much to the chagrin of the DPR team whose officials ordered them to the sideline impeding the progress of the match.
After a delay of five minutes with the DPR Koreans refusing to return to the field officials managed to bring order to the match once again and a clearly unfazed Katie Gill slotted the resulting penalty kick.
The second half began much the same as the first ended - a rough and tough contest with neither side giving an inch and possession evenly divided between the two sides.
In the 53rd minute Westfield Matildas’ Kim Carroll was unable to stop an explosive Yong Ae Kim who took the ball into the box and expertly finished past the fully stretched arm of Melissa Barbieri.
For the remainder of the match Australia’s defense held firm following a wave of attacks from the dogged DPR Korean team while the Koreans themselves were more than capable of breaking up the Westfield Matildas play.
With the match looking to end in a similar result to the team's midweek encounter Lisa De Vanna provided a late charge turning sharply just outside the 18-yard box before being brought done cynically by the Korean defender.
Collette McCallum’s resulting free kick sailed over the cross bar but her next touch provided the late result the Westfield Matildas had worked so hard for throughout the 90 minutes.
Gill, involved in all three of the Westfield Matildas goals, received the ball 30 yards out and with a precise first touch played the ball to McCallum who dinked it into the area for late substitute Kyah Simon who, in a display of sheer determination, fought past the Koreans tight defense to wrap her foot around the defender guide the ball over the on rushing goalkeeper Myong Hui Hong putting the crowd into raptures.
With the whistle coming soon after a clearly elated Westfield Matildas celebrated their first win over DPR Korea under the stewardship of Head Coach Tom Sermanni who was clearly pleased with his team’s result.
"I thought we defended exceptionally well and to beat a team of DPR Korea’s caliber I think shows great credit to our players ability and character," said Sermanni.
"The players all did well and a result like that is another great step on our road to China."
With the result marred only by the actions of the DPR Korea management before half-time Sermanni was not surprised by the incident.
"We deal with those incidents as they come and that pales in comparison to some of the things that happen.
"Until such time something is done about it you’ve just got to deal with it."
But on the Westfield Matildas performance Sermanni singled out the improvement in striker Katie Gill who had a hand in all three of the Australian’s goals.
"What Katie’s done over the last year, she’s made a tremendous jump in her overall ability.
"Now her physical strength really compliments her ability and we saw that in the way she was able to bring those around her into the game and you can clearly see the results," finished Sermanni.